A Parable Showing that Effective Selling is Like Magic…..

Effective Selling is Like…..Magic

A sales consultant with a hobby in magic tricks was working away from home for a client. He was pretty good and had performed professionally a few times in restaurants and at parties. Though it was just a hobby, he wanted to take his skills to the next level.

He found out that Roberto, a famous magic author and one of the world’s leading magic teachers, lived a short distance away from where the client was based. So the sales consultant booked a lesson one evening.

He did a short routine for Roberto and then they sat back and analysed the routine. What he expected was that the teacher would focus on his technique. What happened was very different.

Roberto asked him what he was trying to achieve with his magic. What he wanted his audience to experience and to feel as a result. A tough question, but a good one.

Was he trying to fool them? Amuse them? Astound them? Make them laugh? Give them a once in a lifetime experience of sheer wonder?

And who was he trying to be? A suave entertainer? A clown? A skilful cardsharp?

Roberto and the salesman worked through these questions over a number of hours. It was hard work. These were questions the salesman never really thought about much before.

But it turns out Roberto was right. If your goal is to entertain your audience and if you’re playing with them, rather than trying to outwit them – then they play nicely back.

Rather than your performance being about you trying to impress them – to make them laugh, to make them like you – it becomes one where you work together with the audience to help them have a good time.

When they know they’re in safe hands – that you’re not trying to make fun of them or embarrass them – then they can relax and enjoy the ride.

Technique is still important. Clumsy technique spoils the illusion and can break the spell. But in magic, intent is more important than technique.

If your audience doesn’t choose to join you – if it’s you against them rather than you with them – then all the technique in the world won’t save you.

The Lessons for Selling

Selling is like magic in that you must start with the right intent. Your goal must be to help your clients succeed, not merely to sell them your stuff. It’s about you working with them, not you being against them.

When your potential clients see your intent is positive, they too can relax knowing they’re in safe hands.

So before you go into any sales meeting, ask yourself the questions Roberto asked:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • What do you want your clients to feel and experience?

Then consider:

  • What do I need to say or do that is authentic to deliver this result?

Get that clear and you’ll see a difference in how clients react to you.


Note: I’m indebted to Ian Brodie for sharing this story. For more insights from Ian see his blog at www.ianbrodie.com

This entry was posted in Business Development and Selling, Fee Negotiating, Networking. Bookmark the permalink.

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